Making sure fall vegetable seeds sprout
Even though winter feels very
far away, the dog days are the right time to start
your fall garden.
Last year, I
had a lot of trouble getting seeds to germinate in the hot, dry weather, so this year I opted to
start broccoli, cabbage, and (a new experiment this year) brussels
Sure enough, it was so
hot that I couldn't even get the first set of seeds to germinate inside
the trailer. So I moved the flats to the porch and refilled them
dirt from my favorite tree (the output of which I save for special
occasions). The result was cute little seedlings popping up
within a few days.
If I'd only known that
our weather was going to have a mood swing, I could have
direct-seeded. Recently, I've learned that summer weather (at
least in our neck of the woods) tends to get stuck in feedback loops,
which explains why some summers are distressingly cool and wet while
others are just as distressingly hot and dry.
A couple of weeks ago, I
noticed a several degree difference in temperature (as measured by my
bare feet) between the lush clover growing where our sink graywater
spills out and the parched clover just fifteen feet away. My feet
were picking up on the same factor that influences our summer weather
--- dry soil makes the air hotter while wet soil makes the air
cooler. Maybe that's why once the rains finally came, they kept
on coming all week long?
I don't mind a few more days
of rain if it means the fall garden will get off to a good start.
Carrot seedlings (planted at the beginning of July) are already up and
I can just feel the snap pea seeds I set out Thursday plumping up in
the wet earth. Once those sprout, I've put in an order for more
hot, dry weather to keep the tomatoes and cucurbits happy.
In the meantime, the
photo above shows what I look like when I squelch in from the
garden. Can you tell I'm soaked from mid-thigh down and filthy
from head to toe? Pure bliss....
Our chicken waterer keeps the flock well
hydrated during scorching summer days.
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